Hello, Maharanis! We hope you've had a good rest during the weekend! It is Monday again, and we are so excited to bring you another lovely and inspiring story that you are definitely going to enjoy. This time we will bring you an insight into Saaniya & Shawnjeet's elegant and fashionable wedding celebration. So, get ready to get that inspiration going! We'll start this journey by taking a look at an incredible first look photo session that was carried out by the talented folks at Z Molu Photography. We absolutely love every shot that captured during this photo session. As it reflected the happiness and the most natural and spontaneous expressions of both our lovebirds when seeing each other for the first time on their wedding attires! Raja Shawnjeet is a lucky guy because Saaniya's beauty is out of this world! Doesn't she look like a princess on that green and golden lengha designed by Sabyasachi? And what about that incredible makeup and hairstyle that Makiaj Beauty created for her? It was all a perfect combination that praised her natural beauty and, as we said, made her look like a princess from a fairytale. And just in case you missed it, take a look at that incredible Mehndi design that Henna by Purvi created for this bride to be, simply amazing! If you were captivated by this photoshoot and you want to check more about it, head into our gallery!
How did you meet your Groom and when did you know he was "the one"?
While we had lived in 3 of the same cities at the same time, had been part of similar groups of friends and even grown up with each other's family members - somehow we had never met. My cousin and now husband were both medical residents together in Chicago at the time and he introduced us to each other. The connection was nearly instant between us. But also between our closest friends and cousins - the two groups became one in just a few weeks. We knew right away that we had created something special.
Share the scoop on your Proposal Story!
Shawn had an interview in New Orleans so I was going there to explore the city to see if it was somewhere I thought we could live. We had decided to have a date day on Friday since he has a couple of cousins there that I knew we would be spending the rest of the weekend with. We went to City Park and walked around - it was such a cute park with a "Fairy tale area" and a playground and sculpture garden. We walked past a boat dock and there was a romantic Gondola ride waiting for us. The hour-long ride showed us the entire park - including a bridge which had the initials of every couple that had been on the ride in the last 8 years. We happily chalked our name into the bridge. Shawn was very clearly nervous... Asking bizarre questions like "what was your favorite class in high school?". Finally, I figured out why he bent down on one knee on the bridge above the gondola and asked me to be his wife. After a quick photoshoot from the hidden photographer and many tears, Shawn led me a few steps away to a hidden private table adorned in beautiful décor and all my favorite foods, right on the river water. I heard all my favorite Hindi songs playing and fell to my knees. I assumed this was the conclusion of the proposal but boy was I wrong. After we returned to the hotel- a makeup artist, hairstylist and multiple handpicked dresses from my then fiance showed up to get me fully glammed up for the evening. Afterward, we arrived at the restaurant we were having dinner at and out jumped our siblings and cousins from all of the world, including as far as London. I was shocked and overjoyed knowing my husband had brought the people we cared about the most together for this special moment. The weekend continued with multiple planned events, including private tables at a club, festive group brunches, a private balcony to enjoy the Mardi Gras festivities, and an engagement party at the home of his cousin. It was the best weekend of my life and one I will never forget.
Tell us how you went about planning your wedding, and your overall experience with the Venues, Hair & Makeup, Outfits, Decor Theme, and all of the other important details.
I used Instagram quite a bit for finding all my vendors - whether it was perusing all the weddings on the Maharani Weddings Instagram or going through every possible photographer and videographers content for hours and hours - it was definitely a great platform for me to find everything I needed. I found the entire process of finding vendors pretty overwhelming as I think the options only continue to increase in the market which further makes platforms like Maharani Weddings even more important. However, once the vendors were selected - everything felt much more seamless.
Our venue was very important to us as all of the family and friends were from the Midwest and it was the middle of winter. We had just moved to Scottsdale and wanted to give our guests a true Outdoor Winter Scottsdale experience with views of all the mountains and outdoor events. Hyatt Regency Scottsdale at Gainey ranch had all of that in an inviting resort-style feel which we could imagine our fun families having a great time at even between events and truly feeling like they were on vacation. For the Mendhi, I knew I wanted the old-school home Mendhi but still with the feel of Scottsdale. We rented a beautiful home on top of a mountain in Paradise Valley with breathtaking views, food trucks and the homestyle feel with a dholi and Punjabi folk songs from all the family and friends.
One thing that was very, very important to us was the ceremony. We are a Sikh & Hindu family and wanted both religions represented in one combined ceremony without having to have two separate ceremonies - something we realized was much more difficult to create than we originally thought. Each religion has a set of very specific rules that in many ways can conflict with the others in how the ceremony should be done. Up until the week of the wedding, we didn't think it would all come together and considered just doing the Sikh ceremony. Finally, in the last few days, it all came together. The Hindu Pandit and Sikh BhaiSaab beautifully took the ceremony stage together and performed the joint ceremony of our dreams - putting aside any differences in traditions and bringing us together in one union under both Gods. It was the first of its' kind for our family and friends and was the perfect start to our married lives together as one.
For the decor, we knew we wanted three very distinct and different feels to each event and Prashe blew us away by giving us just that - from the Punjabi Pind Chandni Chowk style marketplace to the serene outdoor sanctuary for the sangeet, to the elegant lush style glam of our reception. She transported us and our guests to a different world with each event.
How did you select your bridal lengha or wedding dress? Did you have a favorite color in mind?
We knew we wanted 4 very distinct looks that brought out different facets of who we are from the childlike fun side to the traditional Bollywood classic lovers, and the American born kids raised with the idealized Disney fairy tale. For the actual bridal lengha - I knew from day one I wanted something that we hadn't seen before - that had the traditional bridal components with a twist. We went in search of a green emerald velvet lengha, and Shyamal & Bhumika made that vision a reality with my custom lengha.
What was the most enjoyable part of the planning process, and why?
Shopping for outfits in India was definitely a highlight for us, as Shyamal & Bhumika, Tarun Tahiliani & Sabyasachi were all fantastic designers to work with that went above and beyond to make our experience and outfits exactly we envisioned. Next to that was the bridal trial with Makiaj Beauty and the tasting experience with Chef Kaushik -- both vendors made us feel so trusting and comforted in their skills that we knew we had nothing to worry about.
What did your guests particularly love about your Wedding?
The décor and food were definitely the two things we heard people rave about the most at the wedding; as well as the hyped energy brought by DJ Gaurav and Dhol Nation. But more than any of that - what we loved hearing was that everyone could truly palpitate the love in the room and it felt like the genuine celebration of one family, not two.
Was there a really special moment in your wedding that constantly replays in your mind?
It was definitely the walk down the aisle. While it is a moment I have dreamt of since I was young, nothing prepared me for the gravity of the actual moment. From seeing Prashe's incredible décor perfectly compliment the natural AZ scenery, to seeing all the bridal party outfits come together so beautifully but the first time, to hearing the songs that we meticulously picked for each walk-in, to seeing each reaction from the people we cared about most in the audience as each person walked down, and last but not least to seeing my groom at the end look so regal and filled with love - it is truly a breathtaking moment I will never forget.
For events other than your ceremony, please tell us as much as you would like about the decor, style, dances, and all the special details.
The sangeet dances were huge and so special for us - both of us have grown up Indian dancing since we were children and knew our Punjabi families wouldn't skip a beat in going all out for the dances. But nothing prepared us for how amazing and full of energy each of the dances was. We had almost two hours of nonstop energetic dances in our program. We could not be more grateful for all of the hard work they put into thoughtful and talented performances.
Our sangeet dance floor had "Yaar Tera Lit" written on it - an ode to one of our favorite artists, Mickey Singh and the coming together of all our "yaars".
Do you have any words of wisdom for Brides-To-Be?
Find vendors you trust and that feel like an extension of your family - those are the ones that will ensure you are not stressed on your big day and go above and beyond to make your vision a reality. There are multiple of our vendors we still talk to on a regular basis months after our wedding including our dhol player Malinder, our photographer Zaheer, and our decor vendor Prashe - and we love it. It truly makes all the difference when you have vendors you can trust, be honest with and know that no matter what they have your back. Use your instinct more than anything else on those initial meetings - if you use that more than proposals and Instagram pages - you'll quickly be able to determine who should be a part of your dream team.
Anything else you want to tell us? We'd love to hear all about your other details! (jewelry, mehndi, venue, cake, bouquets, etc.)
I wore my mother's actual bridal jewelry for the sangeet - something that was very important and special for me to do. One of the necklaces I wore for the ceremony has been passed down in my father's family for over 5 generations.
The day before our wedding kicked out, we went to Sedona (2 hours away) with our brilliant photographer Zaheer (zmoluphotography) - it was one of our favorite parts of the whole week. Taking a moment to breathe before it all starts with just your significant other and allow yourself to soak in that incredible moment of your life that is about to occur made all the difference for us. Plus it didn't hurt to have a super funny photographer who felt like a best friend and made us forget all the other stresses of the planning process.
While we got engaged in New Orleans, we took our engagement pictures in Positano, Italy.
Our Save the Data was a picture of us imitating the DDLJ cover - in full identical outfits as the original actors. An ode to my love for all things Bollywood.
There is more coming down the road, so stay tuned for all the upcoming details!